One of the saddest and most difficult interviews I’ve faced …
Recently I was asked by ABC Far North ‘Breakfast’ presenter Charlie McKillop If i’d be interested in a short live radio interview on the tragic loss of Aurukun and Wik influential leader Bruce Martin at the age of thirty nine.
I first really met ‘Waal Waal’ … (respectfully ‘The Departed’ during mourning) … eleven years ago, when I covered an Aak Puul Ngantam wild cattle mustering operation on Cape York Peninsula for The Australian newspaper. The near week long coverage meant I spent time around the camp fire listening in awe as ‘Waal Waal’ held court and outlined his future vision for the Wik people of Aurukun. (It was later when I realised that we had, in fact, met fleetingly when I made very wet portraits of him during his water polo days in the mid 2000’s)
I was later honoured when he officially opened my exhibition of images of the mustering operation – “Aak Paul Ngantam Stockman” (including portraits of all the crew) – at The Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns.
Thereafter ‘Waal Waal’ Martin’s career really took off. He became a member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and served as a director of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.
Our last meeting was an impromptu breakfast (with his home made marmalade) in an Aurukun home a couple of years back.
There are a few links here below which document much more of the potential and life cut so cruelly short … and an image of mine that has become synonymous with that life. I … and many many others … will sorely miss you.
And … Yes … the full audio of the interview with Charlie McKillop on ABC Far North is here directly below too … and runs for around six and a half minutes.
Image © Brian Cassey